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PLASTIC by Eun-ju Kim


Past, Present, and Future

by Eun-ju Kim ; illustrated by Ji Won Lee ; translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-950354-06-1
Publisher: Scribble

This Korean import explores a prevalent material in our daily lives.

Author Kim and illustrator Lee offer scenes to help kids digest the complex story of plastics. Plentiful illustrations describe production flows or act as seek-and-find challenges with examples of plastic objects around the home. For younger or emergent readers, many objects in the home scene are labeled to help build vocabulary or reinforce sight words. While the text explores some of the reasons plastic has become so enmeshed in our world, it does not fully confront the power of multinational oil companies or the international components of plastics recycling that evolve with each news cycle. However, refreshingly, plastics recycling is not presented as a catchall solution for single-use plastics. Readers are encouraged to reduce single-use plastic consumption, to learn about innovative solutions from scientists and activists, and to acknowledge that eliminating plastics use is unlikely. Illustrations of people throughout show varied skin tones consistent with the bold style used by the illustrator. The narrative format of the text, with three to five short paragraphs per page, and absence of table of contents, index, or cited backmatter make this more of a jumping-off point than a reference text. Open-ended questions throughout create natural breaks for discussion.

This valiant attempt to storify and simplify a complex topic for elementary-aged children mostly succeeds.

(Informational picture book. 7-10)